Car Repair: 3 Fixes Every Driver Should Know
Picture this: you’re driving your car. It’s pouring rain, you’re in the middle of nowhere, and suddenly your engine dies. Or, you’re driving through a strange city at night, there’s a bump, and you know you’ve got a flat tire. If you know these three simple fixes, you can prevent these situations from becoming more than just a nuisance.
How to Plug a Tire
If your tire picks up a nail or a screw,and is losing air, you can plug it until you can get it to a garage. All you need is an inexpensive tire plug kit. Most come with instructions, but generally speaking, a tire plug kit comes with a few plugs, rubber cement, and two small tools. First, remove the nail or screw. Taking the rasp tool, widen the puncture hole for the plug. Next, tear off a plug strip, coat it with rubber cement, and thread it through the loop on the second tool. Push the threader tool through the puncture hole until almost all of the plug is through, then pull the tool out. Cut any excess plug flush with the tire, and test for leaks. One warning: don’t try to plug the sidewalls of a tire, as this cn cause a blowout. Also note that many experts consider tire plugging an emergency fix, and the tire should be taken to a repair shop as soon as possible.
How to Change a Tire
This is a job best attempted while wearing sturdy work clothes, such as men’s work shirts or Carhartt dungarees, because you’ll most likely be down on the ground. You’ll need some basic equipment to change a tire yourself: a spare tire, a tire jack, and a lug wrench. Set your emergency brake, jack up the car until the wheel is above the ground, and then take the hub caps, lug nuts, and tire off. Align the spare over the bolts, and push it in. Next, replace and tighten the lug nuts . Lower the car and remove the jack, and then tighten the lug nuts again. This should hold you until you can get your car to a garage.
Jumping a Car Battery
You can often revive a dead battery if you can get a friend or family member to come and jump you off with jumper cables. Once your Good Samaritan has arrived, have him park his car close to yours (without touching!). Turn off the ignition in both cars, and put your car in park. Connect one end of the positive cable (usually red) to the positive terminal on your friend’s battery, and the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal on your battery. Connect one end of the negative cable (usually black) to the negative terminal on your friend’s battery, and the other end of the negative cable to a grounded, unpainted, non-moving metal surface under your car’s hood that is not close to your battery. Warning: never hook the negative cable to the negative terminal on your stalled car – it could cause an explosion! Finally, have your friend start his car. This is usually enough to get your car started again.
Once you know these three fixes, you’ll be prepared the next time your car has these problems. When you do it yourself, it doesn’t cost too much. If it’s done right, you’re on the road again in no time!